Silicon Valley-based VC firm 500 Startups is targeting to invest in up to 100 Indonesian seed-stage companies from its $50 million Durian Fund II, its managing partners announced yesterday.
The number represents half of 500 Startup’s total targeted market in Southeast Asia, where it seeks to invest in about 200 companies.
Investments by the second Durian Fund will have ticket sizes ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.
The company has recently appointed Malaysian-British actor Ashraf Sinclair as a partner for Indonesia, who along with managing partner Khailee Ng, will hunt for 500 Startups-worthy founders and teams with big ideas, and help them raise funding.
Sinclair’s appointment highlights 500 Startups’ heightened efforts to penetrate the Indonesian market, which unlike any other market in the region, could be tricky for global firms due to its striking diversity and the constant need for hyper-localised strategies.
Sinclair, who is married to Indonesian actress and singer Bunga Citra Lestari, speaks Indonesian fluently and – thanks to his popularity as an actor – has strong connections with other Indonesian celebrities-turned-investors/entrepreneurs.
Prior to joining 500 Startups, Sinclair was an entrepreneur and angel investor himself. He has been investing in startups since 2016, when he, along with his wife, took part in a pre-seed investment in concert crowdfunding platform Konsaato.
Sinclair said he will continue to invest independently, while avoiding any conflict of interest with the company he has just joined.
“There will always be opportunities that are suited for me personally but not for 500 Startups, businesses that are strategic but not aligned with 500 Startups’ criteria,” he explained.
Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd. (MAVCAP), the country’s largest venture capital firm, anchored the new fund. MAVCAP had backed the firm’s Durians I fund as well.
500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator based with over $250 million in assets under management. They have invested in a wide variety of technology startups all over the world, currently over 1,800 companies since its founding in 2010.
In Indonesia, 500 Startups has invested or co-invested in e-commerce firms such as Bukalapak, Hijup, and Bro.do, to name a few. Last week, the company led a pre-series A round for stock market investors social network Stockbit, with participation from Ideosource and Braavos Ventures.